Monthly Archives: January 2015

29, 30 & 31 January – A repost

This is a re-post from my old blog on the 1st of february, 2007. The photos are from the last snow that felt on Parma……

Do you know what it is a blackbird? Turdus Merula is its scientific name. Tha last three days of january here are called “the blackbird days”. Why? They are supposed (by an old peasants tradition) to be the coldest of the winter.

This tradition tells that once the blackbirds were white. A couple of blackbirds that was unable to build a nest coz the trees were all frozen, and the cold was unbearable, choose a warm chimney to call home. After three days there, the female blackbird took a look outside and saw that the sun was shining again, and the air was warmer. So they came out, but the ashes of the chimney coloured them black, and the colour never went away.

There’s another story, always with a blackbird as a protagonist. Once January had 28 days, and it was the coldest month of the year. The last day, a blackbird happily shouted to the sky “I don’t fear you anymore Lord, now that winter is over”. So January took revenge asking three days to February and making them the coldest ever.

Or maybe the right tradition is the one telling the story of a young couple, who, willing to go fast to another village country fair, crossed the frozen river Po, the ice broke and the two fell in the cold water. For three days a blackbird sang to the peasants to call their attention, but failed. The third day the sun melt the ice and the bodies surfaced, sorrounded by flowers.

Maybe now winter is not how it used to be in the old days, the global warming is heating all the planet; the blackbirds can build their nests without problems and the river Po is not frozing anymore, but the old traditions are good to be told, nevertheless.

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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized



Nativity Village

There’s this little village called Bazzano, about 35 km outside Parma, up to the hills. It’s nothing really special, just one little, cozy and ancient village as many others. But every year, around Christmas time, this little village is suddenly very crowded, especially on sunny days like the one we choose for a visit……

Almost all the houses in the village have a nativity scene outside, arranged in different ways, using different materials, and different locations, such as the woodshed below……

……or giving the impression that you’re looking inside a house throught a window……..

….or just a more traditional one.

This one, settled between branches, small and almost hidden, is my favourite.

I wonder how the family living in this house can go inside, having placed their nativity on the steps……..

….and where is the car that usually had shelter here…..

The most innovative is this one, recycling used pipes, with engraved pictures, inside a tube.

Certainly this family has hens, because they settled their scene inside eggs baskets……

….and this family just renovated their roof and they had a few tiles left.

Once painted on a old barn walls. the nativity scene is settled forever.

Not this one, under the roof of the hayloft, waiting for the new harvest to come.

You must acknowledge the imagination of the owner of this nativity, settled in Antarctica…..  

….. or this one, in Russia.

At night, when there’s no more people around, you can close this cabinet and put the figurines to sleep.

I can only guess there’s no one with a sweet tooth in the village, or this nativity made from biscuits wouldn’t have last!

The most traditional scene is arranged in the parich church, obvioulsy……..

The most original nativity scene is not a nativity at all……..made from recycled plastic bottles…..

It was the first time we visited there during Christmas time, even if we knew about this nice tradition for ages……can’t wait for next year and see what the inhabitants will come up with!

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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized



Christmas at home

Our tree….

Our table….

Our menu…

Till next year……….

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Christmas time

Just some photos taken around my hometown during Christmas time…..too bad it’s over….


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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Quote of the week


“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”

(George Isles)

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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Waiting for Christmas

As Christmas was approaching, my hometown (as many others) started to be crowded with streets’ markets. Not only themed markets full of festivities gifts, but just for everything and everyone…..Here’s a glimpse of what I saw just strolling around…..

There was also some music to enjoy!



Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Beef & Onion


Ingredients (servings 4)

  • 4 club steaks, (slice of sirloin with bone)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¾ oz all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste


Lightly coat the chops in flour. Finely slice the onions and brown in a large pan containg butter and oil over low heat.

When the onions are golden add the chops, raise the heat, splash with a little white wine, and season with salt and pepper.

When they have colored on one side, turn them over and finish cooking until also the other side is coloured.

Put the chops on a serving plate and serve topped with the onions.


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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized